Archives for May 2014

Inspirational Quotes: Relationship Improvement

7 Tips For A Great Backyard BBQ

Summer is around the corner and grills will be fired up.  There’s nothing like hot dogs, burgers, steaks, and ribs on an outdoor grill.  I like a little burn on my hot dogs, how about you?   

I don’t consider myself a master grill chef, but I can throw a great backyard cook-out.  I love to entertain and I’ve learned over the years that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a successful gathering.  I have a few tips to share so you can serve delicious food and keep family and friends coming back for more too.


Here’s the tips:


1.  Make sure your grill is cleaned thoroughly from last year’s use.  Don’t purchase expensive cleaners.  Ball up a piece of aluminum foil and rub it back and forth across your grates.  This should remove most of the build up.   Finish removing the build up with a wire brush and clean with soap and water.  A wire brush can be purchased from Lowes or Home Depot for a few bucks. 


2.  I’m partial to charcoal grills.  That’s probably because I can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a gas grill, especially when I can achieve great flavor from my Weber.  I add flavor by adding green twigs from apple trees to my charcoal.  My neighbor has a giant oak tree, where twigs are constantly falling so I gather up a few from her yard.  You can add maple cuttings as well.


3.  I buy supplies in bulk from Sams or Costco and save leftovers for the next outing.  This includes napkins, cups, utensils, charcoal etc.


4.  Look for sales on hot dogs, sausages, potatoes, can vegetables etc. at my local grocery store.  I look for the buy one get one free deals and freeze or store them until needed.  


5.  Purchase store brand buns, your guest won’t give it a second thought.  If you have a bun warmer, this is the perfect time to bring it out.  Your buns will be soft and warm.  

6.  Head to the Dollar Store for colorful table cloths and accessories.  


7.  I purchase cheaper cuts of meats and marinade and season them well.  I add eggs and Lipton’s onion soup mix to my ground beef.  That’s it, no salt pepper or hamburger seasoning.  Use your hands to mix it, pat them out and than set them in the refrigerator overnight.  They are juicy and delicious.  If I fix them any other way, my family knows.  Slowly boil ribs until they are tender before placing them on the grill.  You can easily pull them apart while eating and they’re are finger licking good. Marinade your steaks overnight for great flavor.  


6.  Summer is the perfect times to head to the garden for lettuce, tomatoes, and melons.  


7.  Be cautious when lighting your grill.  I use self starting charcoal.  It’s more expensive, but I don’t have to your starter fluid, which can be dangerous if not used properly.  Grill safety is important as the delicious foods that you will be preparing.  Keep a spray bottle or pitcher of water on hand to control high flames.  


Here’s to a great BBQ season.  May your summer be safe and blessed with family, friends and good food.

Inspirational Quote- Getting Promoted

Backyard Birds: Barn Swallow

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I was working in the yard this week and looked up to find this beautiful bird perched on my gutter.  I had no idea what type of bird it was so I headed to Google.  It appeared to be a female Barn Swallow.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds.

First, I’ve never seen a Barn Swallow.  I thought she was absolutely beautiful.  As you can see she has very distinct features.  Look at the long, forked tail and the color around the head and beak.  The top of the head was a bluish/black color.  Around the beak and throat was an orange color.  But, what really stood out to me was the glossy feathers.  She was quite striking.

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Also, she had her baby with her.  However, the baby disappeared when I opened the door to go inside to get the camera and phone.  Interestingly, momma bird seemed pretty content right where she was.  When I googled the features of a Barn Swallow, I learned some interesting facts.  They like to build their nest under eaves.  So, it seemed that her nest was somewhere nearby.  Here are a few other interesting facts about the Barn Swallow:

  • Barn Swallow migrate between South America and North America.  No this is not a typo, they can travel 14,000 miles between winter and summer.
  • They usually live around 8 years.
  • The dine on insects.  They feed mostly in flight since insects are a large portion of their diet.  However, they will eat egg or oyster shells from a platform feeder.
  • Nests are made of mud and grass.  They are usually built on man made structures.
  • Barn Swallows habitat across most of the country.
  • They are very difficult to attract.  They like to be near streams, ponds and other sources of flowing water.  (My wet weather stream just happened to be running after 4 inches of rain and this may be the reason I was able to spot them).  Lucky me.

As I was writing this post I spotted a male Barn Swallow.  It was just as beautiful, but it was more black and blue in color.  Yet, the orange color on his breast was more defined than the females.  Furthermore, the male was gathering mud from my stream bed.  Again, Barn Swallows build their nest out of mud and grass.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me.  I am glad that I was able to get an opportunity to see this beauty up close and person.  Because it is  rare to get this close to them.

Last, are you a bird watcher?  Furthermore, what backyard birds are prevalent in your area?

 

Inspirational Quote: How’s Your Character

6 Tips To Deal With Stress and Anger: Unleash Your Monster

How do you deal with your stress and anger?  Do you keep your monster hidden?  Women have been groomed to be lady like.  We’ve been taught to hold things in and take care of our family and home. Suck it up! Pray about it or just forget it.  

We’re the backbone, the care givers, we make it work.  Who has time to think about stress or anger, right?  If we do take the time to get in touch with what we’re feeling somebody wants sex, a cookie or Peppa the Pig turned on. We go to bed exhausted, thrive on a few hours of sleep and get up the next morning and do it all over again.  It leads to stress and more stress. When we finally explode or end up sick because we haven’t dealt with anything, we’re looked at as if we’re crazy.  Nobody saw it coming, because it’s our job to hold it down and together
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Anger and stress can cause hair loss, weight gain, weight loss, it can lead to depression and a host of other health issues.  Ladies, we must learn to deal with our anger and stress before it starts affecting our health.  Don’t pretend that you don’t feel angry, stressed or get overwhelmed at times.  Parenting and managing a home are huge responsibilities.  It gets the best of us at times and we should feel no shame.  


Here are a few tips that I have incorporated into my life to reduce anger and stress:


Exercise – Walking or hitting the treadmill is a great way to work off stress and anger.  A walk through the neighborhood, park or your apartment complex is good.  


Remove yourself from people and situations that are not healthy – You know who and what I’m talking about. Lets face it, some people can be toxic. They complain all day and all night.  There’s no happiness within and there never will be.  Run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.  


Accept that you can’t help everybody – There are many people in need, unfortunately we can’t help them all.  I’ve learned that the world is full of people who are down on their luck, but there are also people who don’t want to help themselves.  They would rather have others work and take care of them.  Place your focus on you and your family.


Get proper rest – I’ve found that I don’t need as much sleep as I used to.  Imagine that.  I used to need at least 8 hours, but I can function on 6 or 7 now.  I need that extra hour to blog!


Find a hobby and spend a few hours a week working on it – I unplug and turn to scrapbooking, gardening or reading a magazine or book.  I also enjoy playing games on-line.  


Discuss how you’re feeling with the person you’re angry with or discuss it with your husband, significant other or a girlfriend – Don’t ignore your stress or anger.  Talk about it and leave it on the table.  Sometimes just having someone to listen is all we need.   


What techniques do you use to de-stress or release anger or frustration?  Please share so we can possibly incorporate them into our lives.  


Photo courtesy of clipart101.net
         
                                                                              

Inspirational Quote: Write Your Own Chapters

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You may also like this quote:  Learn to Listen

Turn It Up Tuesday – Week 36

Welcome to the 36th week of Turn It Up Tuesday!
Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!

As you may know, Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic…and having fun! Link up your favorite posts and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments — anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!

SPONSOR OF THE MONTH

Angie from God’s Growing Garden

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In addition to being our fabulous guest host this month, Angie is also an amazing blogger. With over 40 years experience gardening, cooking, baking & canning, Angie can definitely be considered somewhat of an expert in her field.  Her blog, God’s Growing Garden, focuses on helping her fellow ‘backyard farmers’ and features some great blog hops including The Great Blog Train and Wake Up Wednesday Link Party. Angie is also celebrating her 3rd blogiversary with a big giveaway…make sure to sign up!
Are you interested in having your blog or website featured in this spot? Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month! Click here! It’s only $5 for an entire month!
Use promo code: MAYFLOWERS all month for 50% off!

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

TUT Hosts 5.8.14

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for May!

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Interested in being a guest host or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly co-hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis.  We’re now accepting guest hosts for June and July.

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

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Angie chose Gardening: How To Build A Bean Teepee from Mother 2 Mother. “My Bean Teepees never seem to last the summer so I resorted to putting up a bean fence but I think that the teepee is so much more pleasing to the eye (& so cool!). This Teepee looks like it would be very sturdy & last the entire summer!”
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Karen chose Pom Pom Throw Blanket from Delineate Your Dwelling. “This is a great tutorial and the finished throw looks great with the pom pom detail. I have the same pom pom maker as Amy and like her, I love using it.”
Katie also chose this post. “I love this blanket for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s a Target clearance find … My favorite kind! Second of all … I had NO idea you could buy a Pim Pom Maker! This would have saved me SO much time when I made 80 Poms for a wreath last Christmas! I may need to acquire one ASAP. Plus the Poms add so much fun to the blanket!! Such a simple upgrade, but I love the result!!”
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Rhonda chose Thrift Store Lamp Makeover from Budget Girl. “I fell in love with these lamp shades when I saw them months ago, but they didn’t fit into my décor.  Imagine my surprise when I found them on these beautifully made over thrift store lamps.  Love them!”
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Carolyn chose The Best Italian Pasta Salad Ever! from Put A Bird On It. “This recipe is perfect for summer and it really does look like it would be the BEST pasta salad ever and I can’t wait to try it!”
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Debbie chose Chicken Grapefruit Salad with Wasabi Dressing May CIC from Spatulas On Parade. “This recipe sounds so yummy I can’t wait to try it. The ingredients are original and I never would have thought to put them together. I also love that the recipe came to be as a crazy ingredient challenge.”
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Jessica chose Am I Ready to Buy A Home On My Own? from Surviving and Thriving in the Second Year of My Divorce. “What she’s going through reminded me of buying my 1st home after my divorce with the ex.  It signified my independence and new life with my son who was 8 at the time. I remembered when it felt soo good to be me again! I hope she enjoys her new found identity :-).”
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Gurvy chose In a rut – Feeling Fat, Frumpy, and Foolish from Failing Perfect. “I can relate, I feel fat, frumpy and foolish a lot! I thank her for reminding me it’s a choice & we have the power to change the way we feel! There is no ‘perfect’, we make ‘perfect’.”
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Jillian chose Managing Emotions During Pregnancy from Snippets of Inspiration. “While I was pregnant I went through loads of emotions and having a post like this would have helped me understand my emotions much better.”
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Rachel chose Upcycled Toy Horse into a Garden Sculpture from Redo It Yourself Inspiration. “I thought this was unique and amazingly well done. I would not even have known it was a toy horse had I not seen the tutorial!”
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Stacey chose The Spring Cleaner Smoothie from Raia’s Recipes. “I have been blessed with a super picky eater for a child and I often worry that he doesn’t get enough of the important things that come from fruits and veggies and this is a smoothie that I think he might actually drink, I know that I sure would! Thank you for sharing!”
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Cathy chose Starbucks Lemon Loaf from Yesterfood. “My son worked for Starbucks for 3 years. My favorite sweet treat was their Lemon Cake! I can’t wait to try this recipe!”
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Natasha chose The Blogging Blues from Momfever. “I have had my share of blogging blues in the past 1 1/2 years since I started blogging. It’s amazing the posts that go popular on my blog – they are mostly those posts that I write in 5 minutes, whereas the posts that I put time, love, and passion into only receives a minimal response. But I love how this post identifies those feelings and talks about how to get past it. Great post!”
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The post with the most clicks is Blogging And Why I’m So Frustrated from Baby Doodah.
If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!
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And the Best of the Best is…

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The Blogging Blues from Momfever
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As the Best of the Best, you win free ad space on Epic Mommy Adventures for 30 days! Please showcase the badge below with pride on your blog!
Please send an e-mail to Natasha at 1EpicMommy @ gmail.com and she will provide you with all the details!
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So now that you’ve seen the Featured and the Best of the Best and met our hosts and co-hosts…

let’s get started!

  • Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back.
  • Link up as many posts as you’d like! The more, the merrier!
  • Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends!
Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun!
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Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week!

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Interested in reading all of the Featured Posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter’s board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

Backyard Birds: American Gold Finch

backyard bird, gold finches, American Gold Finch

My American Gold Finch have returned more brilliant in color.  I’m amazed at how much the male has colored up. They molt in the winter and late summer, turning a dull yellow/olive color similar to the female shown at the top.  

I discovered these little fellows last season in my garden. They devoured my sunflowers.  So, I fed them over the winter using black oil sunflower seeds.  Normally they head south for the winter, but I did have a few that hung around.  


I’m hoping to see a few babies at the feeder in late summer.  The female will lay eggs in June or July.  


Lately I’ve been having problems with Starlings wiping out the feeders in hours.  So, I’ve had to replace the seed in my feeders.  I decided to go with Nyjer for the finches this summer.  I purchased this nylon bag full of Nyjer at Lowes this winter and they loved it.   

backyard birds, American Gold Finch, wild bird seed, feeding wild birds
 





I purchased the tube feeder from Amazon.  Truthfully, I could have saved my money.  They prefer the nylon sock.  They will go to the feeder if there are too many finches feeding from the sock, but it is their plate of choice.  If you’re interested in attracting the American Gold Finch you should know that Nyjer is considered “black gold” to bird watchers.  This tiny seed is the most expensive bird seed that you can purchase, but a great way to attract them to your feeder if your want to get up close and personal.  They love sunflower seed too, but so do the Starlings and Crackles and I’m not trying to attract them.  

Unfortunately, the sunflower seed is too large to place in the sock and tube feeder.  These feeders are designed for Nyjer seed only.  I may grow thistle next year as a supplement to the feeder.  As it stands, these beauties are enjoying black gold.  

You may also like:  Attracting American Gold Finch

 

Inspirational Quote: Trust





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